Friday, October 5, 2012

Are Indies Team Players?

Yesterday I came across a discussion about indie authors and traditionally published authors. I wish I could remember the link, but the gist of it was, many complained that indie authors weren't very social. 

Come again?

Yeah, some authors, indie and traditionally published, were tossing around situations they'd come across and wondered just how team-friendly independent authors truly are. One such example mentioned a contest at a review site geared for Indie authors. No one was commenting or judging the indie authors, not even the indie authors themselves. Yet when the same review site had a contest for trad published authors, people wouldn't stop commenting. Why the big difference? Same contest, same site, yet some authors jumped in to provide valuable feedback, yet others did not. (Then again, on the indie contest, there weren't many trad pubbed authors commenting either. I dunno.)

What fascinated me was that the discussion had very little finger pointing or name calling. It was an intelligent discussion, so I thought I'd bring it here.

I started out my publishing career by trying to get published with the big houses in New York. But Harlequin, St. Martins, and Random House didn't exactly gibe with what I was writing. Then ebooks became an option, and I was fortunate to have editors and cover artists and a publishers to produce my work. Fast forward several years, and I've tested publishing books myself. It's a lot more work, yet a lot more liberating too. My edit and cover art choices are my own. But what I don't seem to get from the indie side of things are networking friends.

Before anyone jumps on me saying I'm pro this or anti that, I don't choose any side. I don't think you have to, in this day and age. My "traditional" route when getting published put me into a large social network I don't think I could have gotten on my own. By being with Samhain, for example, I was immediately included with over four hundred other authors on loops and digests. I was able to talk to them, interact with them, and have something in common--writing and our publisher. Not to mention the readership that came with an established name in romance ebooks.

Independent publishing is a lot of work, and as such I'm closeted in my office, formatting, editing, getting cover art, and trying to promote my books. I don't have other Marie Harte authors to talk to, because it's just me. This is not to say I don't have other writer friends, or that I haven't "met" folks on the Internet. But those writer friends I mentioned I found through RWA--a writer's group. A social place where information is bandied about, and an organization which tries to help aspiring romance authors publish with publishers.

Now that independent publishing is really starting to gain ground, RWA is opening up to indie, slowly, but hopefully surely. I've joined a few marketing groups and a yahoo group targeted toward independent publishing. There are support groups out there, but I wonder how many authors know or take advantage of that? I'm curious, to say the least. (One such group that gives great tips is Indie Romance Ink, by the way.)

Just my food for thought on a Friday. Feel free to leave your opinions about indie authors, trad pubbed authors, and social networking. I'm always curious to hear from folks who do both, to compare. And note, flame wars will not be tolerated. Yes, I say this realizing maybe one person will comment. Still, it had to be said.

No comments: